For those of you who are Anglophiles, and I suspect that’s a good many of you, who therefore are probably spending your Sunday evenings watching Downton Abbey, a dissenting story from Slate, What is Actually at Stake at Downton Abbey? The answer is apparently, according to June Thomas: little, which she finds weird, since given the setting and period all sorts of interesting things should be happening.
A writer for Salon, she continues,
wrote that this week’s episode “revealed how deeply Downton has become not just a soap, but only a soap, which is to say a drama that is interesting only when big-time melodramatic events—like a wedding or an interrupted wedding—happen.”
Thomas goes on to praise the working class English soap operas which “turn everyday events, like infidelity and workplace intrigue, into high-stakes affairs.” Leaving aside the idea that adultery is an everyday affair — even if it’s common in her circles, few will experience it as “everyday” — she argues that these shows are “stuffed with silly, absurdly low-stakes plot lines—an epic feud [in Coronation Street] between a taxi driver and a school crossing guard stretched out far longer than I ever imagined possible—but its classic soapy stories about extramarital affairs and meddling ex-lovers consistently carry serious consequences: lost paternity rights, homelessness, unemployment, and even death.”
I pass this on as, not being an Anglophile, a non-watcher.